Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Jawbone Flats - A Historic Mining Town
Hydroelectric Pelton Power - photo credit Bill Coit
Rebuilding the Company Store
Outdoor School
Opal Creek Expeditions
The Jawbone Kitchen
Evening in the Ancient Forest

Promoting conservation through educational experiences in wilderness

At Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, all of our work is based around one simple idea: people will protect what they care about, and they will care about what they know. Through our outdoor school, summer camps, and workshop programs, we bring kids and adults face-to-face with the outdoor places that make Oregon great—pristine mountain streams, uncut vistas, and old-growth forests.

The historic mining town of Jawbone Flats is a 15-acre private inholding bordered on the north by the Opal Creek Wilderness and on the south, east, and west by the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation.

Jobs in the Spotlight

About Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

The Opal Creek watershed is 35,000 acres of protected rainforest, part of the last remaining low-elevation old-growth forest left in the Pacific Northwest. Soaring trees dripping with moss, crystal-clear streams, and a diversity of old-growth-dependent species make Opal Creek a unique gem in Oregon’s crown. At its center is the historic off-grid mining town of Jawbone Flats, our base of operations since the Opal Creek Wilderness was created in 1996.

The Employee Experience

As an employee of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, you live and work in the historic mining town of Jawbone Flats, in the heart of the Opal Creek Wilderness. You interact with guests and hikers who remind you, “wow, you are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place!” These interactions happen in the flow of a work day and also on your way to the shower. Work and life are intertwined in Jawbone Flats.

You live in a community of 10-12 people. Whether you are a member of the program team: educating kids and adults with the old growth forest as your classroom, the kitchen team: nourishing students and guests with local, house-made, and vegetarian fare, or the facilities team: maintaining and upgrading the off-grid mining town, you work with everyone to support our mission while enjoying the perks and overcoming the challenges that come with remote living.

Ideal Candidate

We look for candidates that embody the following:

  • Integrity and Dependability: You are honest, approachable, and reliable. You are curious and unafraid to ask questions.
  • Drive: You strive for personal and collective excellence. You work hard. You are humble but confident. 
  • Emotional Intelligence: You listen. You meet people where they are. You are aware of your own emotions as well as others’ moods, behaviors, and motives. You look to form strong bonds with co-workers and guests.
  • Flexibility: You make quick and confident decisions in the face of ambiguity. You are open to and excited by the unpredictability that comes with working in a 1929 mining town in the woods.
  • Collaboration: You will bring a spirit of cooperation to your department, the Jawbone team, and the larger Opal Creek community. You will contribute an open and transparent environment that fosters the sharing of ideas and concerns.
  • Fun: You have your own unique personality. Perhaps you play a musical instrument or teach yoga or practice bird calls. You enjoy solo time in your cabin just as much as social staff barbecues.

Room and Board

Housing is provided on site – either a private room or a private cabin – with a shared bathroom/shower. Utilities are also provided in the form of solar or hydroelectric power. When we have meals for guests you are welcome to eat with us (about 75% of the time), but when there are no meals you are on your own. There is a cooking space in your private housing.

Employee Perks

Most employees believe the biggest benefit is our amazing backyard.

Other benefits include: 50% discount on all Opal Creek programs and cabin rentals for you and your immediate family, 50% off Opal Creek merchandise for you and your immediate family, and a flexible schedule that is not your typical 9-5 job.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Jawbone Flats is very remote. If you choose to bring a vehicle, it is a 2.5 hour drive to Portland, 1.5 hours to Salem, and 1 hour to the nearest grocery store. All vehicles are parked at the Opal Creek Trailhead, 3.1 miles from Jawbone Flats. As an employee, you can hike or bike the 3.1 miles or coordinate with our gear shuttles for rides and/or transport of belongings. If you do not have a vehicle – and a few of our staff do not – you make fast friends with other employees who have vehicles. Initial transportation from PDX airport to Jawbone Flats can be arranged.

Although the commute to city comforts may be long, the commute to work and play is quite short. Your work is a quick walk from your living space, all within the 15 acres of Jawbone Flats.

For Fun

For the adventurous: go hiking and backpacking from your doorstep, jump into crystal-clear pools, creek walk up untouched streams, and seek out undiscovered places.

For relaxation: yoga, meditation, reading, napping, and painting all come with a view.

For the nerd: the Opal Creek Wilderness is your classroom, too. Borrow a field guide and learn the staggering diversity of plants, lichens and mosses, mushrooms, amphibians, and birds that inhabit the old growth forest.

How to Apply

Visit our website: http://www.opalcreek.org/about/employment/ for current job openings. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Megan Selvig, Program Director, at mselvig@opalcreek.org. There are two rounds of interviews for each position, and positions are open until filled.

We are an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Contact Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center